Kathleen Mayo: She’s had passion for teaching since age 9

Published 8:14 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lake Charles native Kathleen Mayo stepped into the role of “teacher” when she was nine years old. At her parent’s Class A Childcare Center, Mayo recalled playing school with her peers.

“I remember always pretending to be the teacher  without giving other children their turn to pretend to teach,” she said. “I never wanted to be one of the students because, even at the tender age of nine, while pretending to be a teacher, I developed a passion and drive for teaching.”

Mayo went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts from McNeese State University, and started teaching right away. The first school that she taught at was John J. Johnson II Elementary School.

She stated that after teaching in the parish for many years, she began working for a local youth agency for 15 years. She first served as program director, and later was promoted to executive director. In 2006, she was approached and asked to become director of a local Head Start facility. This was her return to education. “I served as director for two years and eventually returned to my true passion, the classroom, where I am to this day.”

Email newsletter signup

She now teaches at the Lake Charles Charter Academy as a First Grade Cambridge teacher.

Mayo cited a “love of igniting a love of learning” in students as her inspiration for becoming a teacher. “There is no better feeling than seeing that “I’ve got it” moment,” she explained. “This is one of those priceless moments for a teacher.”

“To me, teaching is not only inspirational but also exciting and fun. Just seeing how my students are excited about learning ignites my love and passion for teaching.”

In her classroom, Mayo expects excellence. “I have high expectations for my students and myself.,” she explained. “I encourage students to enter my classroom with a positive attitude toward learning each and every day.”

For Mayo, passing on the love of learning is an imperative factor in continuously building strong communities. “Education is such an important factor in building a community,” she said. “Education helps break down barriers and create an understanding among cultures, races, and religions. Education should be the key that helps people live better lives.”

For these reasons, Mayo believes that teaching is a vital profession. “I feel that teaching will always be an important and necessary profession. When students know that they are expected to do their best and you truly believe in them, this is when the best learning occurs.”

With this in mind, Mayo wants future teachers to dig deep and ensure that education is the path that they want to take. “Make sure that this is the career for you,” she continued. “Although new teachers are eager to get started, they are also afraid.”

There are many resources and mentors for new teachers, Mayo explained. “Once you become a teacher you should always remember to build working relationships with teachers who are excited about being a lifelong learner.”

“My best advice for someone entering the profession is to find someone that you can trust, someone to celebrate with and someone to listen to your concerns.”

Mayo does not want the fears and difficulties that come with teaching to discourage future educators. “Although teaching is a very challenging career it is one of the most rewarding careers.”

“As a teacher, you are afforded the opportunity to influence the world’s greatest and most precious resource, its youth.”

When she is not in the classroom, Mayo considers herself “an avid nature enthusiast”, partaking in exercising, hiking, bike riding, fishing, reading, and traveling.”

She derives most of her happiness from religion and her family. “My joy is in knowing what God has done and is doing for me and my two beautiful children, Matthew and Kathrena, who both bring me unspeakable joy.”